Serves 4 to 6
Why This Recipe Works: Tomato tarts sound promising, but often recipes yield soggy crusts and fillings with very little flavor. We set out to develop a simple recipe with a flavorful and foolproof crust, a creamy base, and a topping of fragrant sliced tomatoes. To ensure that the tomatoes didn’t leach moisture into the tart, we salted them and let them drain for half an hour on paper towels. We combined a trio of cheeses—Parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella—with olive oil into a base layer to go under the tomatoes. Then all we had to do was spread the cheese mixture over the bottom of the baked tart shell, shingle the tomatoes on top, and bake the tart until the tomatoes were slightly wilted. Drizzling the tomatoes with a mixture of olive oil and minced garlic before baking kept them from drying out and infused them with flavor.
We prefer the light flavor of part-skim ricotta here, but whole-milk ricotta can be substituted; do not use fat-free ricotta.
3 plum tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 ounce mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/4 cup)
1 recipe All-Butter Press-In Tart Dough, baked and cooled (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1. Spread tomatoes out over several layers of paper towels, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let drain for 30 minutes. Combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in small bowl. In separate bowl, combine Parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell. Blot tomatoes dry with paper towels and shingle attractively on top of ricotta in concentric circles. Drizzle with garlic-oil mixture. (Tart can be held at room temperature for up to 2 hours before baking.)
3. Bake tart on rimmed baking sheet until bubbling and tomatoes are slightly wilted, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
4. Let tart cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. To serve, remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between tart and tart pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter or cutting board. Sprinkle with basil before serving.
Making a Tomato Tart
1. SALT AND DRAIN TOMATOES: Spread tomatoes out over several layers of paper towels, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let drain for 30 minutes. Blot tomatoes dry with paper towels.
2. SPREAD RICOTTA MIXTURE OVER TART SHELL: Combine Parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, and 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over bottom of baked tart shell.
3. SHINGLE TOMATOES: Shingle tomatoes attractively in concentric circles, starting at outside edge and working inward. Drizzle tomatoes with garlic-oil mixture.
4. BAKE TART: Bake tart in 425‑degree oven until bubbling and tomatoes are slightly wilted, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let tart cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving.
All-Butter Press-In Tart Dough
Makes one 9-inch tart
Why This Recipe Works: Tart dough is notoriously tricky to work with; it contains less moisture than pie dough and bakes up with a firmer, crisper, more cookielike texture. As with pie dough, overworking the dough can quickly make it tough. But without that little bit of extra moisture, it’s even harder to roll out. Enter press-in tart dough. Rather than being rolled out and transferred to a tart pan, press-in tart dough is mixed just until it comes together, then simply sprinkled in clumps into a tart pan and gently pressed down into an even layer. This easy method makes tricky tart dough foolproof. To make our dough even easier, we mixed it in the food processor, which cut the butter into the dough quickly and evenly and prevented our warm hands from melting the butter as it was worked. This method also meant that we could skip the usual step of chilling the dough before forming the crust, so we could whip up a batch in no time.
This dough does not need to be chilled before pressing it into the tart pan; however, if it becomes too soft to work with, let it firm up in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4‑inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
1. Process flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and continue to process until large clumps of dough form and no powdery bits remain, about 5 seconds. If dough doesn’t clump, add remaining 1 tablespoon water and pulse to incorporate, about 4 pulses. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Let refrigerated or frozen dough sit on counter until very soft before using.)
2. Sprinkle walnut-size clumps of dough evenly into 9‑inch tart pan. Working outward from center, press dough into even layer, sealing any cracks. Working around edge, press dough firmly into corners of pan with fingers. Go around edge once more, pressing dough up sides and into fluted ridges. Use thumb to level off top edge. Use excess dough to patch any holes. Lay plastic wrap over dough and smooth out any bumps using palm of hand. Leaving plastic on top of dough, place tart pan on large plate and freeze tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set tart pan on large baking sheet. Press double layer of aluminum foil into frozen tart shell and over edges of pan and fill with pie weights. Bake until tart shell is golden brown and set, about 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and carefully remove weights and foil. Let tart shell cool on baking sheet.
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